Friday, June 5, 2009

The Ugly Duckling

Greetings happy people,

In 1843 Hans Christian Andersen published a fairy tale entitled "The Ugly Duckling." It was about a little bird in the barnyard that suffers physical and psychological torment for being unlike the other birds only to become a graceful swan in the end. I can really relate to this fairy tale because, I was also once in those webbed feet. I was once considered ugly beyond recognition only to where I stand today as a beautiful swan. How did this story begin? Well, let me take all of you back to the Fall of 1986.

During my days of attending a sixth grade center, I have faced different types of bullying, harrassment, and constant teasing because I was different in how I looked, how I talked, and how I thought. I have been called many things from nerd, stupid, and was even called an ugly M.F. I was also accused of "acting white" many times. Gee, I really did not know that there was a requirement in "acting black."Additionally, I would also have the "opportunity" of getting in fights where I would mostly get beat like a dirty shirt. Don't get me wrong, there were some cool people I met there, but there were some bad apples really made that year unbearable for me.

Most of these insults and fists were usually hurled by some of the meanest, yet ignorant students that really did not know any better. I also had the unfortunate "opportunity" of having the same people that did these things to me follow me to Junior High School. Like the sixth grade center I have attended, I face the same physical and psychological torment that were faced when I went to the sixth grade center.

Thanks to this (plus many blind eyes of some of those teachers) my grades started to decline, my self-esteem was almost down to nothing, I was getting colder, and it felt like there was nowhere for me to go because I started to believe some of those kids that said I was nothing and going to be nothing. As many times as I tried to fight back, I would get put into detention or face suspension by those authorities that really never cared in the first place. This would not only hurt my feelings, but create an inner rage that was about to go off if no one did anything about it.

Thankfully my parents saw the ineffectiveness of the people running that school and myself constantly getting bullied. They decided to make a change and put me into another school where I would not have to deal with that mess. They put me into a place called Bishop Gorman High School.

When I first roamed the blue and orange halls of that campus on Maryland Parkway, something told me that this place was going to change my life. And it certainly did!! As I first walked through the halls as a Freshman 20 years ago, I only knew a few people from my days at the sixth grade center and Junior High School - don't worry, they were pretty cool in my book. The rest were people I did not really know. At first, I feared that the ugly duckling syndrome was going to come back again, but once it did....it slowly faded away with time.

But as time passed throughout the four years at that school, I rebuilt myself. Additionally, I met some way cool people that I am still in touch with to this day and my grades started to improve. To me, attending that school can be seen as the metamorphic change from the ugly duckling I was once seen to the swan I really was about to become. Attending that school really changed my life for the better and for that I will ALWAYS look fondly at the Blue and Orange!!

When it was time for me to go to school, I went down the street to UNLV. Before I arrive at the school, I had a choice to decide which major I was going to focus on. I picked Civil Engineering. As soon as I made my decision, I can still hear those voices from the days when I was younger telling me that I would not get too far because I was stupid. At a moments notice, I decided to go forth on what I call "the six year war." It was tough, it was challenging, and there were times where I really wanted to quit!! But I didn't!! Instead I stayed the course and recieved my Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1999.

During my time studying Civil Engineering, I ran across an organization call Toastmasters International. To find out about that story, just go to the post on my blog that says "Toastmasters - an awesome investment."
(http://jesseoakleyiii.blogspot.com/2009/05/toastmasters-awesome-investment.html)

As I write this to all of you, my eyes are starting tear up. Seriously, who would have thought that a kid that was once on the edge of worthlessness would become what he is right now? Talk about your real-life ugly duckling story.

As for the people that once picked on me back in the day, I ran across a few of them. I would get comments like, "Hey you still look the same!!" They wanted to know what I was doing and when I tell them....their jaws would drop in amazement!! Yes, the same person you tormented went further than you expected. That would give me a great feeling. Hee Hee!!

It goes to show you that sometimes the ugliest duckling can really turn into a very good looking swan. For the youngsters that are reading this message, if you feel like you are being bullied and picked on, remember that this is only temporary. Don't let anyone tell you that you are worthless!! Just keep living day to day and you too can become a beautiful swan!! IT CAN HAPPEN!!

That is all I have to say for now. Take care and thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Jesse I-I-I

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The more you think you are different, or inferior, is the more we are the same.
Perception is the ability to see everything and nothing simultaniously.
robjh

penguinlady1 said...

Thank you for sharing this honey, it explains a lot. I love you for who you are and appreciate all that you do.

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